Dáil Éireann - Volume 565 - 09 April, 2003
Written Answers. - Commission on Human Rights.
Dr. Upton Dr. Upton
135. Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on his address on 27 March 2003 to the 59th Session of the Commission on Human Rights. [9873/03]
Mr. Cowen Mr. Cowen
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Cowen): Ireland is firmly committed to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, which include promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction. Human rights concerns play a central role in our foreign policy and are recognised as such in An Agreed Programme for Government. In this context, we attach great importance to the Commission on Human Rights, which is the primary forum within the United Nations for the discussion of human rights matters. Ireland became a member of the Commission on Human Rights for a three year period beginning on 1 January last. Ireland was to the fore in promoting a human rights agenda during our membership of the Security Council. The Government is committed to ensuring that Ireland will also play an active and constructive role in the Commission on Human Rights with the aim of ensuring that human rights are effectively promoted and protected at the international level.
On Thursday 27 March I addressed the 59th session of the UN Commission on Human Rights. In my statement, I focused on a number of key issues: the need to advance a more people- centred approach involving, the promotion of human rights, the advancement of human safety, and the protection of human lives; the special responsibilities that membership of the Commission carries; the need for member states to have a strong domestic human rights commitment as exemplified in Ireland's case by the establishment of the Irish Human Rights Commission; the need for the belligerents in Iraq to respect international human rights and humanitarian law; the need for the international community to address racism and the efforts Ireland has undertaken to tackle this issue; Ireland's support for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and for overseas development assistance; and the Northern Ireland peace process.
I have arranged for a copy of the speech to be placed in the library of the Houses of the Oireachtas.
Dáil Éireann 565 Written Answers. Commission on Human Rights.